Only you can convince yourself your book is worth writing. Chances are, you have stopped writing midway through your book because you lost interest, got bored, got tired or just gave up. You stopped being the little engine that could. Who told you it would be easy? If you get bored, take a break for a week or a month or more. It will look fresh when you get back to it.
There is one other possibility. You haven’t even started, haven’t written a word. You know what you want to write about. You know someone else has written about the subject, but you are convinced you can do a better job. So what are you waiting for? Every author fights inertia: indisposition to motion, exertion, or change.
Sitting around talking about how much you want to write a book reminds me of a hound dog sitting on a thorn. It bothers him, but he is too lazy to get off his rump and ease the pain, so he just sits there howling. Overcome your inertia: start moving, make the effort, and change your stars forever.
WRITE SOMETHING TODAY
This is for the multitudes of would-be authors who say, “I need to get started on my book, the one I decided to write __ years ago” (you fill in the number). Write something today. Go to your computer. Turn it on. Pull up whatever Word version you have (I still use Word, 2002). Now take a deep breath. You are about to change your life.
1.Write an introduction to your book within the next 10 minutes. What do you want your book to say? That is your introduction. Stop what you are doing (unless you are a surgeon in the middle of a heart transplant) and write the first line of your introduction. Ted, I have to think about it. Stop making excuses, you’ve thought about it long enough.
What? You say you don’t have a computer? Get out a blank piece of paper and write something-anything to do with what your book is basically about. If you want to write about cars, start with, “I do know cars. I know how to drive one, put gas in it, wash it, wreck it and things of that nature. I do know cars.”
2. Now, pick a title for the first chapter and write the first sentence of chapter one. Don’t worry about how stupid it sounds.
3. Pick a title for chapter two and write the first sentence for chapter two.
4. Next, stop writing (if you can), pick up the phone and tell someone, “I finally started writing my book today! I’m already working on the second chapter.”
5. Lastly, lean back and take pride in your accomplishment. Pat yourself on the back; you just got off your thorn. Nine out of ten people who say they want to write a book never get that far.
Of the two hundred million American adults who claim they want to write and publish a book, only 133,000 actually did so in 2010. In 2011, over 200,000 authors self-published. The number of self-published books will reach 300,000 in 2012.
That means 190,000,000 would-be authors won’t write a word this year. Are you one of them? Not if you just did what I asked and wrote that introduction and the first two chapter titles. You are on your way to publishing your first book. Think of a title for chapter three and write the first sentence.
Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation or spelling. The more you worry about grammar, the less inspired you will be. Just write. Rik Feeney, author of over sixty books, suggests you turn off your spell-checker and grammar function. Get rid of anything that distracts you. If that doesn’t work, turn off your monitor and write blind. Your deepest thoughts are more important than your grammar skills at this stage.
Still having trouble writing? Grit your teeth and pump out a book proposal. The planks to your manuscript will fall neatly into place after that. Before you know it, your first book will arrive. It won’t be too long before you start thinking how much better your next book will be. Just do it!